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Amerongen Castle is one of the great Dutch houses from the seventeenth century, with the house, garden, and furnishings almost entirely intact. The house and adjoining historical gardens are located in the picturesque village of Amerongen at the foot of the Utrecht Hills in the Netherlands. Amerongen Castle has a rich family history, going back 700 years. The owners played an important role in the national and European history.

The history of Amerongen Castle officially began in 1286. During the early years, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. In 1557 the house was sold to Goert van Reede (1516-1585). A new era began for the house in 1641, when Goert’s son, Godard Adriaan van Reede took possession of the house.

Godard Adriaan van Reede (1621-1691) was internationally known as a prominent representative of the Netherlands. Godard Adriaan held a key-position in the insurrection against the French supremacy. As a retribution the house was burnt down by the French in 1673, but rebuilt in the popular Dutch-classical style by his wife Margaretha Turnor. The house was completed in 1680. After Godard Adriaan van Reede died in 1691, his son Godard van Reede-Ginckel succeeded him as lord of Amerongen. He married Philipotta van Raesfeld, heiress of Middachten Castle. Godard van Ginckel was one of the confidants of Stadtholder William III. He was successful in the Prince’s army and won important victories in Ireland, earning the title Earl of Athlone.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the castle was decorated in accordance with contemporary taste by Henriëtte Countess van Nassau Zuylestein. She adorned the castle with beautiful furniture and filled the cupboards with porcelain, silver and damask. When the French army invaded the Netherlands in 1795, the Orange-minded Van Reede family left for England together with Stadholder William V. The departure of the van Reede family to England marked a long absence of owners for Amerongen Castle.

The castle was only inhabited again at the end of the nineteenth century when the Van Reede family passed ownership to the Van Aldenburg Bentinck family. With attention and passion for the authentic character, Graaf van Aldenburg Bentinck had the castle adapted to the requirements of his time. Architect Pierre Cuypers was commissioned around 1900 to adapt and embellish a number of rooms. In 1977 his grandchildren gave the castle to the Amerongen Castle Foundation, which aims to maintain the castle and open it to the public.

Amerongen Castle is still furnished as the residents left it in 1977, which had remained unchanged since at least 1940. The historic interior of Amerongen Castle provides an accurate impression of life for a twentieth century noble family. The oldest pieces in the collection date from the period of the Van Reede family from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the Van Aldenburg Bentinck family enriched the collection with many pieces of furniture, portraits, musical instruments and other objects, including ceramics.

The ceramics collection mainly consists of seventeenth and eighteenth-century objects and is subdivided into Asian porcelain and European porcelain and earthenware, including Dutch Delftware. The castle houses three Delftware garnitures, for example a polychrome set of five vases in the Hallway. Comprising three baluster-shaped vases and two beaker vases, the body is painted with a pipe smoking man in a landscape, and the covers are surmounted with a pecking bird. The other two garniture sets are shown in the King’s chamber and the Library. Other Delftware objects are shown in the library, such as a plate with a portrait of Stadtholder William V, from the end of the eighteenth century. These types of objects were produced as (political) propaganda when William V was expelled from Holland by the patriots in 1785, only to return a couple years later with the help of Austrian troops.

 

The Zeeuws Museum is located in the town of Middelburg in the Dutch province of Zeeland. 

The Koninklijk Zeeuws Genootschap der Wetenschappen (Royal Zeeland Society of Sciences) founded the Medioburgense Museum in Middelburg at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1886, the Kunstmuseum was founded in the same town. Both museums fell into disrepair during the twentieth century, with a portion of the collections destroyed during World War II. In 1961 the Zeeland Museum foundation moved into the building of the Museum Medioburgense, upon which it received part of the collection of the Royal Zeeland Society of Sciences in loan. The collection of the Kunstmuseum was also transferred to the museum foundation.

In 1972 the museum was moved to the medieval Abbey in Middelburg, where it is still located. Its collection includes wall tapestries from the Province, the historical collection of the Koninklijk Zeeuws Genootschap der Wetenschappen, porcelain from the Bal collection and regional clothing and the contemporary art collection of the Province of Zeeland.  

The museum’s arts and crafts collection also comprises Delftware. Besides both blue and white and polychrome plates with coats of arms, orangist subjects and Asian-style depictions, there is one particularly interesting charger painted in a Kraak-style with the depiction of an elephant. Further, many typical eighteenth-century figures, such as cows, dogs, horses, a lady carrying cheeses or butter and a child in a high chair are included. The collection is further enriched by garnitures, apothecary jars, vases, sauce boats, models of shoes and plaques. A rare find in the collection is a petit feu and gilded salt cellar with candle holder in the shape of a seated lady.

The Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (The National Museum of Decorative Arts) is located in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Founded in 1912, it is one of the oldest and richest museums in the so-called Triángulo del Arte (Art Triangle) of the city. The museum was established as a place of learning for artisans, manufacturers and designers, following a similar tradition as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

In 1932 the museum moved to its current location, a nineteenth-century palace overlooking the Parque del Retiro. The mansion, built by the Duchess of Santoña in the 1880s, consists of over sixty rooms spread over five floors. 

The museum shows the evolution of the so-called ‘industrial’ and decorative arts mainly between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries. It houses collections of both ethnographic and of artistic craftsmanship of ceramics, furniture, jewelry, textiles, and Oriental arts. Although the museum focuses on Spanish decorative arts, it also includes examples from other countries, mostly early ceramics and luxury items. 

The ceramics in the Oriental section comprise Chinese porcelains of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Some of these pieces were created in China on behalf of Spanish families and therefore feature their arms. The ceramics section also houses approximately 4,000 pieces made of clay, pottery and porcelain, from an 11th-century jar from Toledo to Spanish porcelain from Porcelana de Alcora and Real Fábrica del Buen Retiro. There are also pieces from almost all other notable European manufacturers, such as Sèvres, Limoges, and Capodimonte, as well as marked and signed socarrat tiles.

Dutch Delftware is also presented, including both blue and white and polychrome wares from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The majority comprises plates and dishes, but also tobacco jars, a blue and white garniture and a service attributed to De Witte Starre (The White Star) factory between 1725 and 1760. One notable piece is a rectangular blue and white plaque from circa 1700 depicting figures in a landscape. The figures are shown walking, fishing, riding in a horse carriage and accompanying their horses as they drink from a fountain surmounted by a putti. An interesting blue and white charger from circa 1720 depicts the half-length figure of Moses supporting two arched tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. 

 

The Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) is located in Sydney, Australia. The museum is comprised of the Powerhouse Museum, the major branch of the institution, together with the historic Sydney Observatory and the Museums Discovery Centre.

The formation of the museum began after the 1879 Sydney International Exhibition, held in the Garden Palace. Following the event, the best exhibitions were selected for permanent display in a new museum planned for the Garden Palace. The museum was to be called The Technological, Industrial, and Sanitary Museum of New South Wales; its purpose was to exhibit the latest innovations in industry, construction and design with the intention of showing how improvements in the living standards and health of the population might be brought about.

In September 1882, a fire completely destroyed the Garden Palace and the majority of the collection, occurring just before the museum was slated to open. The museum’s first curator Joseph Henry Maiden was tasked to rebuild the collection. The museum relocated numerous times throughout its history and incorporated with the Sydney Observatory in 1982. In 1988 it was moved to the former tram depot and opened as the Powerhouse Museum. The new Powerhouse made it possible to rehabilitate hundreds of stored treasures and “exhibit them for the first time in almost a century”. The museum moved to 500 Harris Street in March 1988, and took its name from the new location.

Although often described as a science museum, the Powerhouse has a diverse collection encompassing all sorts of technology including decorative arts, science, communication, transport, costume, furniture, media, computer technology, space technology and steam engines. The museum hosts a number of permanent exhibitions, ranging from themes like transport, the steam revolution, time and space, environment, computers, art and industry. This exhibition includes industrial equipment and industrial design, such as furniture, and an extensive and significant collection of Doulton ware and other ceramics.

Dutch Delftware is also housed in the collection. From plates and plaques to garniture vases, shoes, a candlestick and orangist plates. Further there are three single blue and white bottle vases, of which two are painted with waterfowl and flowering plants and the other with a chinoiserie scene of people conversing in a garden. These three vases are marked for Gerrit Pietersz. Kam, who was the owner of De Drie Posteleyne Astonne (The Three Porcelain Ash-barrels) factory from 1673 until 1700 and De Paauw (The Peacock) factory from 1701 until 1705. A true Delftware collection highlight is a trompe l’oeil tureen in the form of two entwined pikes from circa 1750. Naturally modeled tableware in the form of fruit, vegetables, fish, birds and other sorts of animals were fashionable in the mid-1700s. 

 

The Holland Open Air Museum is located in the town of Arnhem. This museum focuses on everyday objects and culture from the lives of ordinary people. Antique houses, farms and factories from different parts of the Netherlands are spread throughout the museum grounds, inviting visitors to explore the unique culture of each.

The idea for the Open Air Museum was conceived by Frederic Adolph Hoefer in 1912 after he had visited several similar museums in Scandinavia. At the same time, the rise of industrialization and urbanization caused regional differences to disappear. Since traditions and craftsmanship were threatened to vanish, historical buildings were moved to the museum. In 1918 the museum opened to the public, comprised of six buildings that were relocated from across the country.

Today there are about forty historical buildings from various places and historical periods. An indoor museum was opened in 2000 in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The permanent collection chronicles the history of the Netherlands with a key focus on daily life.

The collection of the Dutch Open Air Museum contains approximately 153,000 objects, including farm wagons, home textiles, regional costumes and toys. The museum also houses several Delftware objects. The collection mostly comprises utensils, such as many blue and white and polychrome plates. But also a rare coffee pot, tureens, butter tubs and several teapots, of which two red stoneware examples are included. Also included are decorative household objects, for example several garniture sets, tobacco and apothecary jars and vases. One of the highlights of the collection is an inkstand with two inkwells and sand spreader from 1782. Further there is an interesting blue and white complete tobacco box consisting of the box, cover and tamper, a jolly figural cistern and a money bank.

The Musée national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet (Musée Guimet) is located in Paris and has one of the largest collections of Asian Art.

The museum was founded by Émile Étienne Guimet (1836-1918), an industrialist and scholar from Lyon. Guimet was devoted to travel, and visited Egypt and Greece. In 1876, he was commissioned by the minister of public instruction to study the religions of the Far East. Guimet built an impressive collection of exotic art from his travels, which he exhibited in Lyon in 1879.

Around this time, Guimet focused his collection on Asian artifacts and moved his art to the museum he had built in Paris, which opened in 1889. In 1927, the museum became affiliated with the Direction des Musées de France, and the collection grew once again. Thanks to several private legacies, it has the largest collection of Asian art outside Asia. The Musée Guimet also manages the nearby Panthéon Bouddhique and the Musée d’Ennery, also dedicated to Asian Art. However, while the collection in the museum is arranged geographically and presents a history of Asian art to the public, the Panthéon Bouddique approaches the original plan of Guimet, which presented iconographically interesting objects, and aimed to increase knowledge of Eastern religions.

The museum comprises several departments, such as arts, bronzes, arms, objects of daily life, painting and also ceramics. Although the museum now covers almost all of Asia, from the Buddhas of Afghanistan to the Zen monks of Japan, from Indian fabrics to Samurai armour, and from Khmer treasures to Chinese fine art, its collection also includes Dutch Delftware. The Delftware Chinoiserie style baluster-form vase from the end of the seventeenth century shows a continuous scene of figures in a landscape of pines and rock work, clearly inspired by transitional Chinese porcelain.

 

Founded in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States. 

As a Dutch colony in the early seventeenth century, Albany has maintained connections with a Dutch cultural identity. The city of Albany traces its roots to the voyage of English explorer Henry Hudson sponsored by the Dutch East India Company in 1609. Seeking a water route to China by sailing westward, Hudson instead sailed up the river that now bears his name to the interior of New York State. Five years later, the New Netherland Company established Fort Nassau on the island that now houses the Port of Albany but within a few years, this fort was washed away. In 1621, the Dutch West India Company was chartered and three years later, the company built Fort Orange, the trading settlement that would eventually grow into the city of Albany. This early date makes Albany the longest continually occupied European settlement in the eastern United States.

The roots of the Albany Institute of History & Art lay in The Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures, which was founded in New York City in Federal Hall. Supported by the New York State legislature, to which it served as an informational advisor, the society met to improve the state’s economy through advances in agricultural methods and manufacturing technologies. In accordance with the condition that they meet where the legislature convened, the society moved to Albany in 1797, when it became the state capital. From 1998 to 2001, the Albany Institute raised $17 million to bring the museum galleries and facilities up to twenty-first-century standards with a renovation and expansion project that created the present museum.

The Albany Institute of History & Art holds one of the finest collections of art and historical objects documenting the life and culture of New York’s Upper Hudson Valley from the late seventeenth century to the present. Many of the objects in the museum’s collections were made in the Albany area or New York State and document the region’s skilled craftspeople, businesses, and industrial operations. Other objects in the collections originated in China, Japan, Egypt, the Netherlands, France, and elsewhere in the world. The Albany Institute has collected these items because of connections of ownership to families and commercial enterprises in the Upper Hudson Valley. The museum houses more than 35,000 objects, such as paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver, historical artifacts, and ceramics.

Dutch Delftware is represented in the ceramics collection. The collection holds several seventeenth and eighteenth-century tiles, ranging from blue and white tiles with animals, soldiers, and biblical representations to manganese biblical tiles and polychrome tiles with the depiction of tulips. The collection houses several majolica dishes from circa 1625. Further there is a delicately painted polychrome plaque with a basket filled with a floral bouquet from the second half of the eighteenth century. 

STAM is a museum located in the historical Belgian city of Ghent. The museum, which opened its doors at the end of 2010, shows the history of Ghent.

Although the museum is new, the collection and the museum origins go back to the early 19th century. In 1833, the Commission for Monuments and Cityscapes of Ghent founded the archaeological museum ‘Musée historique belge’. The museum was founded during a moment of great interest in local and national history.

Initially, the collection objects were donated by the members of the Commission. The collection gradually grew with modest contributions from benefactors over time.  

With many important additions, the collection grew into a varied and interesting group of objects that together tell the story of Ghent. For example, in 1848, the Ghent city council donated several important objects from the city’s heritage to the museum. By 1884, the museum had become an urban institution and appointed its first curator. 

The collection has been housed in a number of buildings over the years. From a Jesuit monastery, the town hall (1838), the church of the Baudelo abbey (1874), the church of the Calced Carmelites (1884), and finally in the buildings of the Bijloke Abbey (1928), which led to the name change ‘Bijloke Museum’. The Bijloke Museum closed on September 11, 2005 and the STAM city museum opened on October 9, 2010, with the Bijloke collection as its foundation.

Although the museum focuses on the history and arts and crafts of the city of Ghent, it also houses a couple of Delftware objects, of which a blue and white plaque is the most important. The plaque, depicting a wild boar hunt, is painted by Frederik van Frijtom in the second half of the seventeenth-century.

 

The Moritzburg Art Museum is located in the German city of Halle an der Saale. It was founded in 1885 as the city’s museum of arts and crafts. It was not until 1904 that the museum was moved to its current location: the historical structure in the revitalized ruins of Moritzburg Castle.

The castle’s heyday came at the start of the sixteenth century under Cardinal Albert of Brandenburg when it functioned as a magnificent residence for the archbishop. After its destruction in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), the ruins remained untouched for nearly 250 years.

In 1908, the art historian Max Sauerlandt (1880–1934) was appointed director of Halle an der Saale. Under his leadership, Sauerlandt began the systematic compilation and expansion of the collections. Sauerlandt recognized that he could not compete with the large collections in Berlin, Dresden or Munich, but he could turn the museum into something special by focusing on the art from the turn of the century and the present.

What began as a small collection of paintings, graphics and nineteenth-century handicrafts grew to an encyclopedic collection of approximately 250,000 paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, photographs, sculptures and design. Although the Moritzburg Art Museum maintains its focus as a museum of twentieth-century art in Germany, it also has a small number of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Delftware objects. The most unique Delftware object is a vase decorated with a colorful and detailed merry company of men and women drinking tea. It is marked for Jacob Wemmersz. Hoppesteyn, the owner of Het Moriaenshooft (The Moor’s Head) factory from 1664 until 1671 or his widow Jannetge Claesdr. Van Straten, from 1680-1686.

The Musée Grobet-Labadié is located in a nineteenth century ‘hôtel particulier’ in Marseille in the south of France. The museum houses the collection of the Grobet-Labadié family, who originally owned the building. In 1919, Marie Grobet (1852-1944) gave the building and the family art collection to the city of Marseille.

Marie Labadié was the only daughter of the major Marseille businessman Alexandre Labadié (1814-1892). She was married to Bruno Vaysen, a notable owner of several castles and mayor of the French town Murs, and after his death remarried Louis Grobet, her music teacher and painter. From 1873 to 1917 she traveled through Europe successively with her first and then second husband in search of works of art. During these travels she was able to acquire more than seven thousand pieces to furnish her mansion. The objects collected by Marie and Louis Grobet are as numerous as they are varied: furniture, paintings, tapestries, sculptures, earthenware, rugs, silks and musical instruments. They are exhibited in the mansion, which has a ground floor and two floors served by a staircase itself decorated with paintings.

After the death of her second husband, childless, she decided to donate her family collection as well as the nineteenth-century mansion belonging to her to the city by deed of October 19, 1919. At the expense of the municipality the house had to be transformed into a museum. By deliberation of January 24, 1920, the city of Marseille accepted this donation. The museum was inaugurated on November 3, 1925 and opened its doors to the public in January 1926. Since that day, the city of Marseille has preserved the museum as well as its collection.

The beautiful rooms are fully furnished and decorated. Grobet also collected ceramics, for example plates and dishes from the Oiler’s factory in Moustiers and the Veuve Perrin factory in Marseille. Earthenware from Rouen and Japanese Imari porcelain are also included in the collection. A pair of blue and white double-gourd Delftware vases is also part of the collection.

The Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) is the oldest of its kind in Germany. The museum was founded as a private institution in 1867 and was based on the model of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was initially called the Deutsches Gewerbe-Museum zu Berlin (German Design Museum), and it sought to promote craftsmanship and support modern ideas on education as a ‘collection of models and studies’ for the associated artisan school.

The collection grew significantly in the 1870s, and it was renamed Kunstgewerbemuseum in 1879. To meet the needs of the collection, it moved to its own premises in 1881, the current Martin-Gropius-Bau. The museum later moved several more times, and parts of the collection were destroyed in World War II. The surviving objects were split between East and West Berlin. The reunification of Germany made it possible to reunite and reorganize the collection once again.

The collection of the Kunstgewerbemuseum encompasses a wide variety of materials and forms of craftwork, fashion and design. It houses European (and Byzantine) decorative arts from all post-classical periods of art history, and features gold, silver, glass and enamel items, porcelain, furniture, panelling, tapestry, costumes, and silks. In the ceramics collection one can also find Dutch Delftware, for example this blue and white ewer with gilded silver mounts. Decorated in an Asian style with birds and flowering plants, it is marked for Pieter Adriaensz. Kocx, the owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1701 to 1703, or his widow Johanna van der Heul, the owner from 1703 to 1722.

The Musée national Adrien-Dubouché is located in Limoges, France, and contains the largest public collection of Limoges porcelain in the world. Founded in 1845 by Tiburce Morisot, father of Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot, the first Limoges museum was initially housed in the premises of the prefecture of Haute-Vienne. The mission was to build a collection with paintings, sculptures and works of art collected by members of the Limousin Archaeological and Historical Society. Adrien Dubouché, son of a linen merchant, took over the voluntary management of the establishment in 1865 and expanded the collection with many donations from French and foreign ceramics factories. Under the direction of Dubouché, the museum moved to its current location to exhibit the collections and to accommodate a school of decorative arts.

In 1875, Dubouché acquired the 587-piece ceramic collection of the late Albert Jacquemart, author of the book Les Merveilles de la Céramique, which he donated to the city of Limoges. On the eve of Dubouché’s death in 1881, the museum and the school were nationalized. Since then, the museum was renamed the Musée national Adrien-Dubouché.

The museum houses the second richest collection of ceramics in France. Together with the Musée national de Sèvres it forms the Cité de la céramique Sèvres & Limoges. The museum preserves nearly 18,000 ceramics and glass from various periods, from Antiquity to the present day and from various civilizations: ceramics from Europe, Chinese porcelains, Islamic earthenware, stoneware pieces, and European porcelain from the seventeenth century to the present day. The collection also includes several seventeenth and eighteenth-century Delftware objects, from a beautiful floral plaque to figural salt cellars and many other tablewares such as teapots and ewers. A yellow so-called sample plate and a flower holder in the shape of a triumphal arch are absolute eye-catchers.

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